What is garudasana?
Garudasana (gah-rue-DAHS-anna) is comprised of garuda = ‘a fierce bird of prey’ and asana means ‘yoga pose’. It is also the vehicle (vahana) of the Hindu god Vishnu, usually described as an eagle, but sometimes as a hawk or kite. Garuda is the bird that transports Lord Vishnu throughout the celestial realms. This asana is ‘the eagle pose’ because it resembles garuda or an eagle. It is an important standing yoga pose that provides a great stretch to shoulders upper back and legs; known for certain other important health benefits. Its easy steps, benefits and precautions have been mentioned systematically. The yoga pose develops poise and grace in the body. The yoga pose is also known for strength, flexibility and endurance.
How to do garudasana step by step?
The simple technique and instruction of the eagle are:
- Stand in Tadasana with hands beside the thighs.
- Raise the right leg and twist it around the left leg.
- Now fold the two arms at the elbows.
- Twist the left arm around the right arm. Try to place the palms together so that they resemble the beak of an eagle, or garuda.
- Gaze at a fixed point in front of the body. Slowly bend the leg and lower the body as far as you can.
- Keep your eyes fixed on the point in front of the body throughout.
- Now, repeat the same procedure with other leg and arm.
Breathing, awareness and duration
Breathing should be normal throughout the entire practice. One’s attention should be fixed on a point in front of the body. The best place is a black spot on the wall in front of at the level of eyes. Awareness of a fixed point is the secret of doing balancing asanas. As far as duration is concerned, one can stay at the final pose as per one’s comfort.
Top 10 health benefits of garudasana
To extract the best benefits of garudasana, one has to practice the eagle pose as per the instructions given above. Maximum benefits can be harnessed if you practice it in the presence of a yoga teacher or after having perfection. Some of the important benefits of this yoga pose are:
- Mental & physical coordination: The yoga pose helps to bring coordination between body and mind thus good to bring synergy in the body thereby helpful in combating stress and depression.
- Strengthens the legs: It’s an effective yoga pose for the legs muscles, tones the nerves and loosens the joints. Thus, the practice of it is beneficial in strengthening the legs and also helpful in overcoming the legs deformity. It strengths the feet and thighs too.
- Hydrocele: There are very few yoga poses, which works for the patients of hydrocele. Garudasana is playing an important role to treat hydrocele problems if it is properly practiced for a certain period of time.
- Alleviates sciatica: The regular practice of the yoga pose is helpful in treating sciatica. It is also beneficial in the case of rheumatism.
- Testicles development: The practice of the yoga pose is immensely helpful in case of enlargement of the testicles.
- Urinary problems: It has been found useful for the patients of anorectal and urinary maladies.
- Concentration: The yoga pose helps to develop concentration.
- Balance: It is also known to develop balance in the body.
- Good for shoulders: The yoga pose is good for shoulders, upper back and arms. Those who seated continuously before the computer, they have to practice this yoga pose to lessen the stiffness in the arms and shoulders.
- Neuro-muscular health: It is good to enhance the neuro-muscular coordination.
The eagle pose shouldn’t be performed in the following conditions
- Severe arthritis
- Varicose veins
- Injuries of bones and joints.
- 3rd-trimester pregnancy shouldn’t practice it.
- It should be also avoided in case of low blood pressure, headache and inner ear problems.
- Alignment, especially of hands, arms and thighs is important in the case of Garudasana.
- While performing it, the back should be straight as the rounded back seems to be less beneficial.
- Avoid practicing it if you have knee, elbow, arms and shoulder injuries.
Garudasana joint and muscular actions
While practicing the yoga pose the joint and muscular actions are involved. Mild spinal flexion; scapula abduction, upward and lateral rotation, elevation; glenohumeral external rotation; elbow flexion; forearm pronation; neutral wrist extension; pelvis anterior tilt, counternutation; hip flexion, internal rotation, adduction; knee flexion, internal rotation; ankle dorsiflexion; foot—lifted in eversion and standing in slight supination
Initially, practicing the yoga pose is not so easy. There are problems of balance and stability in the case of beginners’. The fresher should practice it with the help of a wall.
Philosophy and origin
The name comes from the Sanskrit words garuda means ‘eagle’ and asana means ‘yoga posture’. In Hindu mythology, it is the vehicle of God Vishnu to save the humanity from cruel demons. In Gheranda Samhita, verse 2.37 wherein it has been described as the legs and thighs on the ground, and the hands-on the knees. It has also been described in Sritattvanidhi and by BKS Iyengar in Light on Yoga.
- Setu bandha sarvangasana